PreCheck v. Global Entry: What’s the difference?

July 3, 2014 |

Those who frequently go out on business travel, whether it be international or domestic, are likely part of the U.S. Transportation Administration’s PreCheck program or the U.S. Borders and Customers Patrol Global Entry.

The two programs have different aspects but allow travelers to get through security lines faster than those passengers who aren’t a part of the program.

The PreCheck program through the TSA is a useful investment for those who do most of their travel domestically and who fly with participating airlines. Low-risk travelers who submit an application go through the interview process and pay a fee can enjoy an improved travel experience by not being held up in regular security lines.

Those who are members of PreCheck are also permitted to leave on belts, shoes and light outerwear and jackets. They are also allowed to leave their liquids and laptops in carry-on baggage.

When one wants to apply for PreCheck, they’ll fill out an online application, schedule an appointment at a TSA PreCheck application center at one of 280 nationwide and pay an $85 application fee, provide valid government identification and get fingerprinted. Once an application is approved, the passenger is issued a Known Traveler Number that’s to be filled in when making airline reservations.

Many airlines who participate in PreCheck invite certain frequent fliers to voluntarily participate in the program.

More recently, TSA officials have been choosing passengers at random to move through security lines at airports in order to speed up the security process. They do this through TSA Risk Assessments and use Secure Flight Data that’s already been issued to the government program to allow passengers to access the screening lane on a random basis. There’s also the TSA Managed Inclusion program that uses threat assessments in real-time to identify passengers already at airports to move through the PreCheck lines.

Global Entry
Global Entry is a program run by Customs and Border Patrol that allows those who have been pre-approved and are considered low-risk travelers to move through expedited screening upon arriving in the U.S. It’s similar to PreCheck but used by those who travel internationally.

There are no minimum number of trips required to qualify for the program, but there is a rigorous background check and interview process that must be done before approval is given.

Travelers who are part of Global Entry do not have to go through processing lines, fill out paperwork, are given expedited entry benefits in other countries and have reduced wait times.

Rather than just being open to U.S. residents, Global Entry is available to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals.

To apply, there is an online application and a $100 non-refundable application fee that must be submitted. Once this is received, travelers schedule an interview upon which they will talk with a U.S. Customers Border Protection officer, take a photo and scan fingerprints. Valid passports and another form of valid identification are also required.